Forest Whitaker

Movie Actor

Forest Whitaker was born in Longview, Texas, United States on July 15th, 1961 and is the Movie Actor. At the age of 61, Forest Whitaker biography, profession, age, height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, measurements, education, career, dating/affair, family, news updates, movies, TV shows, and networth are available.

Other Names / Nick Names
Forest Steven Whitaker III, Forest
Date of Birth
July 15, 1961
United States
Place of Birth
Longview, Texas, United States
61 years old
Zodiac Sign
$40 Million
Actor, Film Actor, Film Director, Film Producer, Karateka, Television Actor, Television Director, Voice Actor
Social Media
Forest Whitaker Height, Weight, Eye Color and Hair Color

At 61 years old, Forest Whitaker has this physical status:

Hair Color
Eye Color
Dark Brown
Not Available
Forest Whitaker Religion, Education, and Hobbies
Not Available
California State Polytechnic University, University of Southern California, Drama Studio London, New York University
Forest Whitaker Spouse(s), Children, Affair, Parents, and Family
Keisha Nash, ​ ​(m. 1996; div. 2021)​
Dating / Affair
Keisha Nash (1994-2018)
Forest Steven Jr., Laura Francis
Kenn Whitaker (Younger Brother), Damon Whitaker (Younger Brother), Deborah Whitaker (Older Sister)
Forest Whitaker Career

Whitaker has a long history of working with well-regarded film directors and actors. In his first onscreen performance of note, he had a supporting role playing a high school football player in the 1982 film version of Cameron Crowe's coming-of-age teen-retrospective Fast Times at Ridgemont High. In 1986, he appeared in Martin Scorsese's The Color of Money and Oliver Stone's Platoon. The following year, he co-starred in the comedy Good Morning, Vietnam alongside Robin Williams. In 1988, Whitaker appeared in the film Bloodsport and had his first lead role starring as jazz alto saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker in Clint Eastwood's Bird. To prepare himself for the part, Whitaker took saxophone lessons and sequestered himself in a loft with only a bed, couch, and an alto saxophone, having also conducted extensive research and talked to numerous people who knew Parker. His performance, which has been called "transcendent", earned him the Best Actor award at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination.

Whitaker continued to work with a number of well-known directors throughout the 1990s. He starred in the 1990 film Downtown and was cast in the pivotal role of Jody, a captive British soldier in the 1992 film The Crying Game, for which he used an English accent. Todd McCarthy of Variety described Whitaker's performance as "big-hearted", "hugely emotional", and "simply terrific". He was a member of the cast that won the first ever National Board of Review Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble for Robert Altman's film, Prêt-à-Porter, in 1994. In 1995, he gave a "characteristically emotional performance" in Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's Smoke, and appeared in the science-fiction film Species. In 1996, he played the role of a good-natured man in Phenomenon, alongside John Travolta and Robert Duvall, which earned him a Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama, and was also nominated for NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture.

Whitaker played a serene, pigeon-raising, bushido-following, mob hit man in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, a 1999 film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Many consider this to have been a "definitive role" for Whitaker. In a manner similar to his preparation for Bird, he again immersed himself in his character's world—he studied Eastern philosophy and meditated for long hours "to hone his inner spiritual hitman". Jarmusch has told interviewers that he developed the title character with Whitaker in mind; The New York Times review of the film observed that "[I]t's hard to think of another actor who could play a cold-blooded killer with such warmth and humanity."

Whitaker next appeared in what has been called one of the worst films ever made, the 2000 production of Battlefield Earth, based on the novel of the same name by L. Ron Hubbard. The film was widely criticized as a notorious commercial and critical disaster. However, Whitaker's performance was lauded by the film's director, Roger Christian, who commented that, "Everybody's going to be very surprised" by Whitaker, who "found this huge voice and laugh." Battlefield Earth won seven Razzie Awards. Whitaker later expressed his regret for participating in the film.

In 2001, Whitaker had a small, uncredited role in the Wong Kar-wai-directed The Follow, one of five short films produced by BMW that year to promote its cars. He co-starred in Joel Schumacher's 2002 thriller, Phone Booth, with Kiefer Sutherland and Colin Farrell. That year, he also co-starred with Jodie Foster in Panic Room. His performance as the film's "bad guy" was described as "a subtle chemistry of aggression and empathy".

Whitaker's 2006 portrayal of Idi Amin in the film The Last King of Scotland earned him positive reviews by critics as well as multiple awards and honors. To portray the dictator, Whitaker gained 50 pounds, learned to play the accordion, and immersed himself in research. He read books about Amin, watched news and documentary footage featuring Amin, and spent time in Uganda meeting with Amin's friends, relatives, generals, and victims; he also learned Swahili and mastered Amin's East African accent. His performance earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the fourth black actor in history to do so, joining the ranks of Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Foxx. In his acceptance speech, Whitaker said: “When I first started acting, it was because of my desire to connect to everyone, to that thing inside each of us, that light that I believe exists in all of us. Because acting for me is about believing in that connection; and it's a connection so strong, it's a connection so deep that we feel it and through our combined belief we can create a new reality.” For that same role, he was also recognized with the British Academy Film Award, Golden Globe Award, National Board of Review Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and accolades from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, London Film Critics’ Circle Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, National Society of Film Critics, and New York Film Critics Circle among others.

In 2007, Whitaker played Dr. James Farmer Sr. in The Great Debaters, for which he received an Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor. In 2008, Whitaker appeared in three films, first as a business man known only as Happiness, who likes butterflies, in the film The Air I Breathe. He also portrayed a rogue police captain in Street Kings, and a heroic tourist in Vantage Point.

In 2013, after a small career slump where he starred in a few straight-to-video films, Whitaker has enjoyed a career resurgence, having played the lead role in Lee Daniels' The Butler, which has become one of his greatest critical and commercial successes to date. Whitaker won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for that film. Whitaker also starred in the film Black Nativity and co-starred in 2013's The Last Stand, playing an FBI agent chasing an escaped drug cartel leader.

Whitaker played Saw Gerrera in the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. 2016 also saw Whitaker portray Colonel Weber in Arrival, which was followed by his portrayal of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2017's The Forgiven.

For his portrayal of Zuri in 2018's Black Panther, Whitaker shared in the SAG Award for Best Ensemble.

In 2020, Whitaker starred as Jeronicus Jangle in the Netflix Christmas musical Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. He appeared as Reverend C.L. Franklin, the father of Aretha Franklin (played by Jennifer Hudson) in the film Respect. and is set to appear alongside Tom Hardy in Havoc. In 2022, Whitaker will portray boxing trainer Doc Broadus in Heart of a Lion.

After completing several films in the early 1980s, Whitaker gained additional roles in multiple television shows. On the series, Diff'rent Strokes, he played a bully in the 1985 episode "Bully for Arnold". That same year, Whitaker also played the part of a comic book salesman in the Amazing Stories episode "Gather Ye Acorns". He appeared in the first and second parts of North and South in 1985 and 1986. Throughout the 1990s, Whitaker mainly had roles in television films which aired on HBO, including Criminal Justice, The Enemy Within, and Witness Protection.

From 2002 to 2003, Whitaker was the host and narrator of 44 new episodes of the Rod Serling classic, The Twilight Zone, which lasted one season on UPN. After working in several film roles, he returned to television in 2006 when he joined the cast of FX's police serial The Shield, as Lieutenant Jon Kavanaugh, who was determined to prove that the lead character, Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) is a dirty cop. As opposed to his previous character work, Whitaker stated that he merely had to draw on his childhood years growing up in South Central Los Angeles for the role. He received rave reviews for his performance—Variety called it a "crackling-good guest stint"—and he reprised the role in the show's 2007 season.

In the fall of 2006, Whitaker started a multi-episode story arc on ER as Curtis Ames, a man who comes into the ER with a cough, but quickly faces the long-term consequences of a paralyzing stroke; he sues, then takes out his anger on Dr. Luka Kovač, who he blames for the strokes. Whitaker received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his performance in the series. Also in 2006, Whitaker appeared in T.I.'s music video "Live in the Sky" alongside Jamie Foxx.

Whitaker was cast in the Criminal Minds spin-off, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, that was subsequently cancelled by CBS on May 17, 2011.

In December 2016, it was announced that Whitaker would reprise his role as Saw Gerrera from Rogue One for the Star Wars Rebels animated series.

In 2017 and 2018, Whitaker had an eleven-episode arc on Empire, which saw him reunited with Lee Daniels after their work together on The Butler.

Since 2019, Whitaker has been starring as Bumpy Johnson in Godfather of Harlem, a series on EPIX which explores the intersection between the criminal underworld and civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Whitaker is set to appear in an episode of Extrapolations, an Apple TV anthology series that focuses on climate change. He joined Francis Ford Coppala's upcoming project Megapolis

Whitaker made his Broadway debut in 2016 in a revival of Eugene O'Neill's play Hughie at the Booth Theatre, directed by Michael Grandage.

Whitaker branched out into producing and directing in the 1990s. He co-produced and co-starred in A Rage in Harlem in 1991. He made his directorial debut with a grim film about inner-city gun violence, Strapped, for HBO in 1993 – and won the International Critics' Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 1995, he directed his first theatrical feature, Waiting to Exhale, which was based on the Terry McMillan novel of the same name. Roger Ebert observed that the tone of the film resembled Whitaker's own acting style: "measured, serene, confident". Whitaker also directed co-star Whitney Houston's music video of the movie's theme song, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)".

Whitaker continued his directing career with the 1998 romantic comedy, Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr., which he also executive produced. He directed Katie Holmes in the romantic comedy, First Daughter in 2004, while also serving as an executive producer on the film; he had previously co-starred with Holmes in Phone Booth in 2002. He gained experience as the executive producer of several made-for-television movies, most notably the 2002 Emmy-award-winning Door to Door, starring William H. Macy. He produced these projects through his production company, Spirit Dance Entertainment, which he shut down in 2005 to concentrate on his acting career.

Whitaker's current company, Significant Productions, is devoted to creating opportunities for underrepresented narratives and storytellers by championing films and television shows starring people of color, alongside diversified representation behind the camera. Whitaker and his partner Nina Yang Bongiovi produced Ryan Coogler's directorial debut Fruitvale Station, which won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and won Prize of The Future at Cannes. They also launched the career of Chloe Zhao, with Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015). Other producing highlights have included ‘Repentance’ (2014), Dope (2015), Roxanne Roxanne (2018) and Sorry to Bother You (2018). In 2021, the company's latest film, Passing, will debut on Netflix.

Significant Productions also produced a documentary that was shot in the hospice at Angola prison in Louisiana, 'Serving Life’ (2011), which was produced for Oprah Winfrey as the first commission for OWN and Oprah's Doc Club. They produced A Kid From Coney Island, a documentary about basketball star Stephon Marbury. In 2020, Significant produced By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem.

Whitaker worked closely with Babyface as the executive producer to the soundtrack for Waiting to Exhale, which Whitaker directed. The album received a total of eleven Grammy nominations in 1997, including Album of the Year and Song of the Year for "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)". Three songs were nominated for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. It won the Grammy for Best R&B Song for "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," written by Babyface.

Whitaker served as Executive Soundtrack Producer on the soundtrack for Hope Floats, which he directed. Best known for Garth Brooks’ rendition of “To Make You Feel My Love,” the album went double-platinum and was Grammy nominated.

Whitaker also served as Executive Music Producer and co-wrote eight songs for the soundtrack to First Daughter, which he directed.

Under Frank Cooper, he served as the creator and producer of, an interactive video game, short film, and website that allowed people to select a new flavor of Mountain Dew. This campaign turned into the most successful launch of a soft drink in Mountain Dew's history.

Whitaker appears in the Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain 2008 music video, "Blame It". He also appears in the music video "In the Dark" by Bring Me the Horizon, released on October 21, 2019.; and his voice and likeness were used for Saw Gerrera in the 2019 video game Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order.

Whitaker has played an active role as co-chair of JuntoBox Films since his initial involvement as co-chair with the collaborative film studio starting in March 2012. JuntoBox was developed as a social-media platform for filmmakers and fans to share ideas to create films and then collaborate to make them. Since Whitaker joined as co-chair, five projects have been greenlit for production.


Francis Ford Coppola's $120m passion project Megalopolis 'mired in production problems', January 10, 2023
The splashy film features big names such as Adam Driver, Forest Whitaker, Nathalie Emmanuel, Jon Voight, Laurence Fishburne, Aubrey Plaza, and Shia LaBeouf (seen on set at right in November), and centers on an architect who seeks to rebuild New York City after a disaster. Having funded the $120million passion project himself, the director (left) is now in danger of missing his March deadline, sources said, and is making a slew of changes to save the production. The hectic, last ditch effort comes halfway through the film's 80- to 90-day shoot, and as the urban Atlanta set has fallen into what The Hollywood Reporter described as 'chaos.' But 83-year-old Coppola is no stranger to this kind of disorder - famously encountering problems during filming for his seminal masterpiece Apocalypse Now, during which the director worried the film would be a 'failure' because of the issues.

Shia LaBeouf to star in Francis Ford Coppola's Megalopolis, August 31, 2022
Shia LaBeouf will be starring in Francis Ford Coppola's star-studded independent film Megalopolis after becoming embroiled in a dispute with Olivia Wilde over his departure from her latest film, Don't Worry Darling.   LaBeouf, 36, is among several of the newest stars to join the cast, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to him, Coppola's sister Talia Shire and nephew Jason Schwartzman have also landed roles in the movie. The film will be independently financed by the legendary director, and has a budget just shy of $100 million.
Forest Whitaker Tweets and Instagram Photos
2 Aug 2022

September 21st. May the Force be with you.

Posted by @forestwhitaker on

19 Jun 2022

Beautiful day with my daughters today! Happy Father!!!

Posted by @forestwhitaker on